Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Northern Water Snake

A young Northern Water Snake has taken up residence in my Water Garden.  I first saw it a few weeks ago and now I see it regularly.  Its normal resting place is on a mass of water lilies that have heaved themselves out of the water.

The snake is very active and spends a lot of time hunting among the rushes and other aquatic vegetation.  Unlike other snakes that visit the Water Garden, the Northern Water Snake stays close to the water and is not likely to interact with people traveling to and from the front door of the house. I would hate to have a snake injured as the result of an unfortunate human encounter.

This little guy is more tolerant of human intrusion than its more mature relatives.  Most mature Northern Water Snakes that I encounter are already in fast retreat because they saw me seconds before I saw them.  By moving slowly, I’m able to position myself at the edge of the Water Garden and observe this snake as it goes about its normal business.

I haven’t seen it catch anything yet, but I’m sure there’s plenty of food available.  Lack of fish in the Water Garden shouldn’t be a problem.  There’s no shortage of frogs, tadpoles and insects for the snake to eat.

The snake has some beautiful markings.  I’d love to have it stay here permanently.  I’m constantly impressed by the number of aquatic animals that manage to find the Water Garden.  Most have been young animals following their innate urge to disperse.  Turtles, frogs and snakes that require permanent water bodies in which to live, all have a time in their lives when they leave the security of their home and head cross country to settle in a new location.  This guarantees that genetic material will be shared and all suitable habitat will have representatives of these species.  Small areas like my Water Garden are often unable to support entire populations of larger animals, but one or two snakes may be able to have a good life here.


  1. Hi Pat. I just saw today that there is another young snake in the Water Garden, so there are two beauties.